Annoying people are going to be a part of your day. Sometimes you work with them, sometimes you live with them. While the same person might not annoy you every day, undoubtedly there will be someone else to step up and do that job. But wouldn’t it be great if you could just figure out a way to make annoying people less annoying?
Great news! You can!
The Change Starts with You
First, let’s start by appreciating that we can only change ourselves. That’s right, you’re the one who’s going to be changing and yet that annoying person is going to become less annoying. Magic!
One might wonder Why do I have to change if they’re the ones who are being annoying? The answer is simple: It’s all perspective. What annoys you might not annoy someone else. So if you are being annoyed, isn’t that your problem to solve?
Here’s a personal example: When he is exhausted, my husband snores. It’s an open mouthed, deep inhale/exhale. It drove me nuts. Then, one day, I was taking a nap with my son. He was congested and not feeling very well. He rolled on to his back, opened his mouth, and began deep inhale/exhale mouth breathing and I thought Well, isn’t that the most lovely sound on earth? To hear your baby sleeping so blissfully, how wonderful!
It took me a moment, but I realized the relaxing noise from my son was the exact same frustrating and noisy sound from my husband. This, plus hearing that having an extreme dislike of human sounds to the point of anger is a psychological condition called misophonia, made me decide that I was in need of a shift in my attitude.
The very first thing you should do when you start to get annoyed is breathe. If what someone is saying is annoying to you, focus on something else for a moment or two to get yourself leveled out. I love numbers, so I do a metered breath to give myself something else to focus on. Inhale, 2,3,4. Exhale, 2, 3, 4. If you breathe with a low number, it won’t be terribly obvious that you’re doing a breathing exercise.
As you breathe, you will be receiving the benefits of breathing which include: oxygenation, relaxation, improved concentration, and activation of core muscles (which is always a good thing). For more information on breathing, I suggest reading my previous articles, Pilates Breathing and Yogic Breathing.
Next, if it is appropriate to smile in the situation you are in and if you can smile nicely, do it. Smiling will make you feel better and smiling will help put the other person at ease. It is a possibility that if the other person is nervous that could be causing their annoying behavior.
If you are unable to smile nicely, think about softening your face to release any tension. Feel all the muscles relax in your forehead and at the hinge of your jaw. Soften your eyes. Now, activate the muscles at the corners of your mouth. This should lift the outside corners of your mouth, showing that you are a positive, engaged person. You should not try to fake the smile if it’s just not there.
As soon as possible, excuse yourself from the situation. I like to go to the bathroom. It is conceivable that one would need to go to the bathroom at any point in time. Plus, I can shut the door and no one knows how long I’m going to be in there. While this tactic won’t work if I’m trying to escape one of my kids, it will for all adults.
While in the bathroom (or wherever you have gone once you’ve excused yourself), take your time to let go of whatever frustration or tension you might be carrying. It no longer serves you, so let it go and move forward.
Now, as you may have noticed from the title, there is more to come! Please check in tomorrow for Part 2!
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I’m closing with the video for Sheryl Crow’s song “A Change Would Do You Good.” It’s a song that annoys me in a good way; it reminds me that I’m in control of how I react to things, so I need to make the change. Sometimes I just change the station, but sometimes I lean in to that aggravation and use the song as a challenge. The video appears to be a who’s who of 1996, which is fun, however, the characters in the video are very annoying. If you’re going to watch, come prepared with your best deep breathing techniques. Enjoy?
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